FBI agent who trained Buffalo cops says hospitalized protestor, 75, 'got away lightly' and officers 'did nothing wrong'
AN FBI agent who trained Buffalo cops in defensive techniques says the 75-year-old protester who was pushed to the ground and hospitalized "got away lightly" and the officers involved acted according to training and showed "exemplary control".
Gary DiLaura, who spent years teaching firearms and defensive techniques to police in Buffalo, New York, has told how he is willing to testify in court in support of the cops, two of whom have been charged with second degree assault.
Disturbing footage emerged last week showing the riot team push the elderly man to the ground – later identified as activist Martin Gugino – who was then seen with blood dripping from his ear after cracking his head on the concrete.
Gugino, who was later treated in hospital for a head wound, has been accused by President Trump of being an ‘Antifa provocateur’ – after the video showed him approaching the police with a small device – although he has strongly denied the allegation.
DiLaura told The Sun: "I can't believe that they didn't deck him. If that would have been a 40 year old guy going up there, I guarantee you they'd have been all over him.
"They would have put him on ground, and they would have cuffed him and dragged him with his arms behind his back to the paddy wagon and charged him with assault, failure to follow lawful orders, all the stuff.
"He absolutely got away lightly. He got a light push and in my humble opinion, he took a dive and the dive backfired because he hit his head. Maybe it'll knock a little bit of sense into him.
"These cops were acting how they have been trained to act. There's no way they are going to be convicted of assault."
DiLaura, who worked for the FBI for 28 years including on the Timothy McVeigh and John Gotti cases, says he is willing to testify in any court case, while 57 officers from the team have since resigned in support of those suspended, stating they don't feel they have legal protection from the city of Buffalo.
"The FBI considers all their firearms and defensive tactics, instructors, expert instructors," DiLaura said.
"I was qualified many years ago as an expert and testified in federal court as an expert firearms and defensive tactics instructor at trials.
"And now I have volunteered pro bono that I would testify in court that these case officers did exactly what they were trained to do and exercised exemplary control."
Talking through how the situation unfolded after reviewing the footage, he explained: "You've got these guys in riot gear and they're supposed to be holding a line and they got a supervisor and the supervisor tells him what to do.
"And if he tells them to push the crowd back, they have to hold the line and push the crowd back. And they were moving forward slowly."
DiLaura thinks Gugino was likely talking in a louder voice while other protestors charged up the street, and could be seen pointing his finger while holding what appeared to be a police helmet in one hand, and a small device in the other.
"He gets up to him and he starts to rubbing this device that he has up and down on the cops," DiLaura said.
"It could be a smartphone. It could be a little bomb. I mean, you can put enough C4 in a cellphone to put a pretty good size hole in an airplane, let alone blow up a person.
"They have no idea what this guy's doing. Put yourself in their spot, here's a guy who has no business being here. This guy's obviously an old man. He should not be here."
DiLaura questions why Gugino put his life at risk in the middle of a pandemic, joking he must be "off his rocker".
He explained his theory of why the cops didn't stop immediately when he fell to the ground, saying: "Their supervisor told them, keep holding the line. I'll stay here. So the supervisor stayed there with him.
"Of course the video doesn't show that, but the supervisor stayed there with him and called the ambulance or EMT."
The former FBI agent, who taught cops at the Police Academy in Erie County, where Buffalo is located, believes the rumors Gugino could have been a supporter of the anti-fascist protest movement Antifa.
President Trump made the same accusation this week, tweeting: "Buffalo protester shoved by Police could be an ANTIFA provocateur. 75 year old Martin Gugino was pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out the equipment. @OANN I watched, he fell harder than was pushed. Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?"
Gugino's attorney hit back at the claims calling them "dark, dangerous and untrue".
In a statement on Tuesday, Kelly V. Zarcone said: "Martin has always been a PEACEFUL protester because he cares about today’s society.
"He is also a typical Western New Yorker who loves his family. No one from law enforcement has even suggested anything otherwise so we are at a loss to understand why the President of the United States would make such dark, dangerous, and untrue accusations against him."
Zarcone later told The Sun: "My only comment, not to be snarky, is that perhaps the FBI fellow you interviewed who trains the police in this area is part of the reason that the local government announced yesterday that reform is necessary."
Shocked friends also backed up Gugino saying he was a peaceful protester.
Judy Metzger, a longtime friend of Gugino's who lives nearby in Amherst, a suburb of the city, denies the claims, telling the New York Times: "Antifa? Oh, heavens no. Martin is a very gentle, a very pleasant person."
DiLaura, unconvinced, questioned: "Well, if he doesn't have links with Antifa, why was he being aggressive towards the police officers?
"Why wasn't he back in the crowd instead of way up in front approaching and putting his hands on the police officers and touching him with some electronic device. Why was he doing that?
"If you're in a peaceful protest and you don't want confrontation and you want to keep it peaceful, you don't go up pointing your finger at the police officer who's in a line moving forward, and put your hands on him and touch him with this device. You can't do that."
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